If you’re like me, you excel in procrastination: suddenly finding lots of enjoyable or trivial things to do to avoid undertaking a high priority or stressful task. For example, I might get caught up reading the news, walking my dogs, and cleaning my computer keyboard, then suddenly I realize I’ve only got 15 minutes before I have to teach my next yoga class—halfway across town! Then my heart rate increases, I begin to stress out, I jump on my bike and pedal like mad, arriving at my class breathless and relieved to be there, but not as peaceful and centered as I’d like to be.
Procrastination can be perilous. Not only is this a habit that causes us to miss deadlines, flights, classes, and other activities, but it can also generate a great deal of stress. Living with on-going stress can negatively impact the immune system, the nervous system, and our emotional health. In other words, avoiding a potentially stressful task just stresses us out even more!
There are many reasons why we procrastinate: avoidance, denial, distraction, and so on. Recent research has shown that procrastination is rooted in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the same part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control and filtering distracting stimuli. So a first step to overcoming your tendency to procrastinate is to begin to re-focus the brain—by meditating!
Here are a few kriyas to help get you started.
Yogi Bhajan taught a kriya called the “Tapa Yog Karam Kriya” that is said to stop procrastination. This meditation, found in the book The Mind, uses the mantra “Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Sat Naam, Wahe Guru.” While the mantra is pretty straight forward, the arm position is challenging. It is to be done for only 11 minutes a day, and you can build up to the full time. Don’t put it off….this kriya is used to overcome difficulty in completing projects, but you have to start first!
Kirtan Kriya is also recommended as a powerful way to change habits and shift brain patterns. For a good explanation of this meditation, see Sadhana Guidelines. Devote 31 minutes a day to this, accompanied by Mirabai Ceiba’s Cycle of Life CD.
Strengthening the navel center, or Third Chakra, may also help overcome a habit of procrastination. The Third Chakra is responsible for willpower and commitment. There are many Kundalini kriyas that work on the Third Chakra, so choose one that you’ll be able to stick with. Try the “Nabhi Kriya” from Transitions to a Heart Centered World, or for something a less physically strenuous, maybe “Working on the Third Chakra” from Infinity and Me.
Of course none of this may be all that helpful if what you have been putting off is committing to a 40-day sadhana in the first place! In that case, look for support. Join Spirit Voyage’s upcoming 40 Day Global Sadhana. Become part of this worldwide community while you chant this beautiful Meditation to Keep Steady on the Path.
Whatever it is that you commit to, remember that it’s important to keep up. Take on a kriya for 40 consecutive days, and don’t procrastinate until the end of the day to do it! You CAN change your habits. What are you waiting for?